North Greenbush Democrats

North Greenbush Democrats
Fighting For You!

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

GOP Majority’s decision to REBID Water District a $300,000 mistake

How much more will taxpayers have to pay for a glass of water?

With the opening of re-bids for Water District 14, it is now clear that the politics of trying to award contracts to political friends will cost North Greenbush taxpayers dearly, stated Councilmen Richard Fennelly and James Mihalko. The Councilmen reacted to the opening of the new bids in Water District 14, weeks after Majority Board Members Ashe, Styczynski and Tazbir ignored warnings that dismissing the bids including the low bid of 6.1 million dollars would expose taxpayers to the risk of a dramatic increase in the cost of construction. Those repeated warnings have sadly materialized with new bids opened Tuesday April 26th.

The stated reason for re-bidding by the Majority was that only two bids were received. Since only two bids were received this time, shouldn’t we expect the Majority to re-bid again in the continued interests of saving the taxpayers of the water district money?

The new low bid from Casale Excavating is 6.4 million, some $300,000 more than the previous low bid from Highlander which the Majority discarded. This cost must be shouldered by taxpayers if accepted.

It has been clear from the onset that the Board Majority would have awarded the contract had the politically connected high bidder been the low bidder. In dismissing the bids and re-bidding, the majority was giving the high bidder another bite at the apple and exposing taxpayers to the increased costs which inevitably would result from re-bidding.

During the process which led to this tragic decision, the Board Majority ignored the recommendation of its engineering firm and a law firm hired to review the bids and the bidders and Councilman Fennelly, ALL of whom recommended awarding the contract to the low bidder, Highlander Construction at 6.1 million dollars.

Councilmen Ashe and Styczynski have invested their political futures with the high bidder, Casale Construction, which has immersed itself in local politics on behalf of the board majority. The high bidder was deeply involved in Conservative Party primaries for control of the town committee on behalf of the majority. The contractor’s brother and Councilman Ashe’s son were on the same slate of candidates attempting to secure the committee and its invaluable endorsement in the town elections. They were also rumored to have been behind an expensive campaign to win voter approval for the district, despite being the high bidder.

Now the new bids are in and taxpayers will take it on the chin with $300,000 in additional costs over the low bid which the Majority threw out.
Submitted by,
Councilmen Richard Fennelly and James Mihalko

Monday, April 25, 2005

Ashley calls for full disclosure of Water District business from Ashe and Town Attorney

4/25/05

North Greenbush Democratic Chairman Dan Ashley is calling on Councilman Robert Ashe and his private sector employer’s wife, Town Attorney Linda Mandel-Clemente to make a FULL DISCLOSURE of all sales of materials from Bonded Concrete and associated companies subcontracted for all Water District Construction in North Greenbush.

Ashley made the request after learning that the high bidder in Water District 14 may have used the private sector employer of Councilman Ashe to provide materials in these publicly financed water districts. This vender is also owned by the Town Attorney’s spouse raising questions about the ethical propriety of the these sales.

How much town money did Councilman Ashe’s employer reap in sales from Water District construction? That’s the question both of these people should answer, especially in light of their often repeated assurances at Town Board meetings that they have taken great pain to ensure that their company does not benefit from town contracts while they serve in positions in town government, stated Ashley.

It is certainly my hope that these sales which benefited the Councilman’s employer played no role in the bizarre decision to throw out the bids in Water District 14 and re-bid the contract. The original bids included a low bid some $600,000 less than the one submitted by a politically favored bidder. Was it all about the sub contracts and the sales given to Ashe’s employer?

It’s time for an outside independent accounting of all the funds expended on water district construction, concluded Ashley. He noted that taxpayers may learn tomorrow at 3PM when the new bids are opened just how much more this district will cost as a result of the re-bid decision.

Dan Ashley
Chairman, NGBDC

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Ashley seeks fulfillment of 4 million dollar pledge from Senator Bruno

4/19/05

North Greenbush Democratic Chairman Dan Ashley is seeking immediate fulfillment of a pledge last year from Senator Joseph Bruno that would give the town of North Greenbush 4 million dollars for projects in exchange for the town giving land to the City of Rensselaer.

Last year, the town board majority was jumping through hoops to give away taxable land within its boundaries in exchange for 4 million in State taxpayer dollars to be used for various project in North Greenbush. These projects included a water tower which the town board was forced to bond because the money never materialized.

We are now in a new fiscal year with a new State budget passed and yet not a word from the Senator or the Republican Majority on the Town Board as to when if ever North Greenbush will receive these funds.
The City of Rensselaer has our taxable property because the Republican Majority did not bother to protect taxpayers with contingency language when they held a special meeting last year to give away the land to Rensselaer.

Once again we have a happy developer who can move forward with his plans at the expense of North Greenbush. It’s time that North Greenbush taxpayers received the funds promised in exchange for this land giveaway, concluded Ashley.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Democrats release election platform

4/14/2005
The North Greenbush Democratic Committee has issued a platform to protect and improve the quality of life in North Greenbush. The platform has been endorsed by the majority of the 16 member town Democratic Committee and will serve as a guide for the selection of candidates for the policy making town board in this years town elections.
The Democratic Committee is committed to encouraging qualified town residents who are committed to improving the quality of life in our town to review the platform and if they embrace its guiding principles, to contact the committee for consideration of endorsement for elective office.
Three key positions must be filled this year including Town Supervisor and two at large Council positions which are currently held by Republicans. Democrats need just one more seat to gain a working majority to implement the platform on behalf of town residents.
"We cannot change the face of town government without the involvement and support of the citizens of this town and therefore we urge residents to become involved in a spirit of public service", stated Democratic Chairman Dan Ashley. The platform can be viewed in its entirety at our website located at http://ngbdems.blogspot.com and the committee may be contacted at ngbdems@nycap.rr.com.


Platform of the North Greenbush Democratic Committee 2005
*Community Based Zoning by restoring a Master Plan Committee consisting of TOWN RESIDENTS from all areas of the town.
*End Conflicts of Interest by passing and enforcing a comprehensive Ethics Law within 90 days and the appointment of a non partisan ethics board free of gridlock.
*A commitment to reduce taxes by ending waste, paid spin doctors and FIXING the salary of the Town Attorney.
*Protecting our schools and tax base by vigorously opposing IDA tax breaks like those given to Oak Hill Apartments.
*Return open government by ending the GOP practice of early morning town board meetings aimed at diminishing public participation and awareness.
*Restore residency requirements for key town jobs such as Comptroller and Engineer which have been outsourced under the current administration.
* Oppose Republican plan to eliminate elected office of Highway Superintendent, replacing it with an appointed patronage bureaucrat.
*Respect for the laws and restoring trust by ending the pattern of town officials violating the rights of citizens and Court decisions which have chastised their actions.